Addressing a chuckling crowd at a town hall last Thursday, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), a senior member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, brushed aside concerns about climate change and instead went on a pretty unscientific rant claiming "global warming is a total fraud."
Laughing off claims made by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) that this year's wildfire season should be "a wake-up call to the reality of climate change," Rohrabacher said global warming is a ploy employed by liberals to "create global government."
"Just so you'll know, global warming is a total fraud and it's being designed because what you've got is you've got liberals who get elected at the local level want state government to do the work and let them make the decisions," Rohrabacher said in a video captured by the Nation. "Then, at the state level, they want the federal government to do it. And at the federal government, they want to create global government to control all of our lives."
And the mastermind behind this scheme?
"It's step by step by step, more and bigger control over our lives by higher levels of government. And global warming is that strategy in spades," Rohrabacher continues. "Our freedom to make our choices on transportation and everything else? No, that's gotta be done by a government official who, by the way, probably comes from Nigeria because he's a UN government official, not a U.S. government official."
While this sort of statement is predictable from climate-change deniers, it is undeniably dangerous for a representative on the Science Committee (from a state that is currently experiencing severe wildfires caused partly by climate change) to simply "laugh off" science.
According to the Associated Press, California has faced 4,300 wildfires, a stark increase from the yearly average of almost 3,000 they have faced from 2008 to 2012.
Rohrabacher has also never been shy about his denial of climate change, not to mention his frightening misunderstanding of science in general.
However, he is not the only naysayer in the GOP camps.
Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah), chair of the House Science Subcommittee on Environment, doesn't believe that humans are responsible for rising global temperatures. Shockingly, more than 55% of congressional Republicans agree with Stewart.
On the other hand, Congressional Democrats plan to spend the August recess stressing the consequences of climate change within communities at the local level and organizing organizing climate change events around the nation.
Climate change is an important issue that does need to be addressed as a problem, not a theory. Let's hope there will be a swift and constructive approach to the climate change debate from both camps, resulting in some favorable climate-change policies rather than the standard stalemate.
Because, quite frankly, we just cannot afford to ignore or laugh at climate change any further.